- The ASX 200 dropped 0.9% by the mid-session on Wednesday.
- All 11 sectors bleed in red, while the consumer staples and utilities declined the most.
- GUD Holdings, Chalice Mining, Pro Medicus topped the losers’ chart.
- Australia’s GDP contracts 1.9% during the September quarter.
- On Wall Street, all the three major indexes finished lower overnight.
Australian shares opened lower today and extended loss by the mid-session on Wednesday as investors gave the thumbs down to the September quarter gross domestic product (GDP) numbers. The detection of the first confirmed community case of Omicron, a COVID-19 variant, in the country also trigged sell-off in the market as it injected fears of the reimposition of curbs and delay in economic recovery. Investors also reacted negatively to vaccine maker Moderna's chief executive officer comment that coronavirus vaccines were likely to be less effective against the new variant.
Snapping previous session gains, the ASX 200 index was down by 64.40 points or 0.89% to 7,191.60 by mid-session trade. The benchmark index opened lower today, mirroring weak closing at Wall Street along with a fall in oil, gold and iron ore as investors repositioned for a faster taper by the US central bank.
All sectors bleed in red
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On the sectoral front, all the 11 sectors slipped in negative terrain. The consumer staples and utilities sectors were the worst performers with each falling more than 2%. The A-REIT, tech, energy, telecom, financial, consumer discretionary, and industrials also witnessed a surge in selling, dropping over 1%.
Australia’s GDP contracts 1.9% in September quarter
The Australian economy contracted by 1.9% during the September quarter as the Delta outbreak disrupted the economic recovery, putting half the population under lockdowns during most of the period. The contraction in GDP was lesser than the economists’ expectation of 2.7%.
ASX slips 0.9% as GDP contracts, all sectors in red
On an annualised basis, the economy grew by 3.9% higher than the analysts’ expectation of a 3% growth.
US stocks fall on Omicron concerns
In overnight trade, the US market closed lower amid concerns about the COVID-19 Omicron variant's impact on the global economy. The looming fear about a reduction in coronavirus stimulus also injected negatively in the market. The Dow Jones index and the S&P 500 ended 1.9% lower each, and the NASDAQ Composite fell 1.6%.
Top gainers and losers by mid-session
The worst performing stock on the ASX pack was automobile component manufacturer GUD Holdings (ASX:GUD), which fell 6.6% by the mid-session. Some of the other notable losers were gold producer Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN), health care business Pro Medicus (ASX:PME), industrial explosives and chemicals supplier Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL), and global online marketplace Redbubble (ASX:RBL).
On the gaining side, mineral explorer South32 (ASX:S32) topped the chart by rising 2%. Some of the other top gainers were oil producer Oil Search (ASX:OSH), food and staples retailer Graincorp (ASX:GNC), and resource companies Iluka Resources (ASX: ILU) and Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC).
Shares in news
Image Source: © Robynmac | Megapixl.com
Shares of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) fell as much as 0.9% by the afternoon as it faces a class action from law firm, Phi Finney McDonald.
Charter Hall Retail REIT’s (ASX: CQR) shares climbed 1.5% after the property investment firm acquired Ampol portfolio and upgraded its earnings guidance. The company has acquired a 49% interest in a portfolio of 20 Ampol Fuel and Convenience Retail Centres for AU$50.5 million.
Crisis-hit casino operator Crown Resorts’ (ASX: CWN) shares traded marginally lower following the appointment of Dr Ziggy Switkowski as its new chairman.
Shares of Australian Ethical Investments (ASX: AEF) dropped nearly 4% despite raising earnings guidance. The wealth management company expects the net profit in the range of AU$5 million to AU$5.5 million over the six months to 31 December 2021.
Metal detector and wireless communications business Codan (ASX: CDA) saw its shares falling over 2% after it announced the acquisition of UK-based company Broadcast Wireless Systems (BWS).